Cycra Racing Dirt Bike Hand Guard Review

Aug. 29, 2012 By Jaime Hernandez
Dirt Bike rider Erik Ekman shows us a thing or two about trail riding (Photo Josh Burns).

Most of us make our living with our hands--whether it be wrenching, building or creating.  Even the brainy types need them for striking a keyboard, signing on the line and sealing a deal. If you ride a dirt bike, and your hands mean anything to you, this article is for you.

In a recent dirt bike adventure, a fellow rider told me I needed to protect my “money makers.”  At first I was unsure of what he meant, but quickly I grasped the concept.  “Your hands,” he said.

This resonated with me even more after taking a bad fall while going up a steep rocky hill. The twist throttle partially broke off, leaving me with a stubby thing to work with. Both my bike and I were bruised and we had to limp back to the truck.

After the dust settled and the bruises healed, I got to thinking about adding more protection to the bike before jumping back on the saddle. The motocross hand guards needed to be upgraded to stronger off-road-style hand guards if we planned to survive in the world of trail riding.

There are basically two different style of hand guards available for dirt bikes: motocross and off-road. The motocross style hand guards are designed to be light and protect from roost on the track. The off-road-style (a.k.a. “Bark Busters”) is heavier but give more protection with a formed aluminum bar that wraps around the hand instruments. The off-road-style hand guards also incorporate a plastic shield to protect from roost, bushes and branches.

Cycra Racing Probend off-road hand guards increase safety and protection for both the bike and rider. The CNC-machined 6061 billet aluminum Probend Bar construction will take a blow much better than an all-plastic hand guard.

If you find yourself riding in the desert, rocky trails or woods--having the heavy-duty off-road-style hand guards are a better choice. One bad fall can break your levers or throttle, leaving you stranded miles from camp.

Having an extra protection barrier between your hands and a solid tree or rock is also good insurance for your next adventure. The last thing you want after a ride is to come home with a missing pinky finger or a hand the size of a buckwheat pancake.

We took our fellow rider’s advice and purchased a set of sturdier hand guards for our trail bike.

We sourced a set of off-road hand guards from All American KTM in Ramona, CA ( RJ and the boys take good care of us, so we keep coming back.

After inspecting the hand guards closer, we discovered that the KTM Enduro hand guard set is made by Cycra Racing, a well-known brand in the dirt bike realm.

The KTM Probend hand guard set includes the Probend Bars, plastic bumpers, enduro shields and U-Clamp handlebar mount system.

Cycra Racing is an Ohio-based company that produces aftermarket dirt bike parts--including fenders, number plates, body plastics and protective hand guards. The company started more than 16 years ago by brothers Ken and Glen Laivins in a small studio in Columbus, Ohio. The motorcycle-obsessed brothers have always had a thing for customizing bikes. Today Cycra Racing builds product that enables others to do the same.

Cycra Racing (Photo Compliments of Manufacturer).

Cycra Racing has grown from a small studio into a 57,000-square-foot facility that develops and manufactures its product all under one roof. From the design and development to CNC shop and production—it’s all done at the same place. This all-in-one approach allows Cycra Racing to deliver greater precision and quality products.

KTM is a smart company and typically partners up with only good suppliers. It speaks numbers that they would choose Cycra Racing to make their off-road hand guards. The good news is that Cycra Racing also makes Probend Bars applications for other major dirt bike brands. They are available in different colors, sizes and for different bar applications (Pro Taper, Renthal, Magura, Naken). More info at

Adding a set of Cycra Racing Probend Bars can be done in your very own garage with some simple tools. Set aside at least two hours to get the job done without rushing.

Since our dirt bike came equipped with plastic motocross-style hand guards, we simply had to remove them to make room for the Probend Bars.

The following is an overview of what is involved to install a set of Cycra Racing Probend Bars. You will need a set of small metric sockets or t-handles to loosen instruments from the handle bar, and a utility knife for cutting.

Loosen the brake lever and throttle assembly to allow for adjustment. You may need to cut zip-ties to allow some cable wiring slack when positioning U-Clamps.

In order to install the Probend Bars, the handlebar grip ends will need to be cut. This can be done using the utility knife. 

On the throttle side of the handlebar, the twist throttle plastic end cap will also need to be cut. Use either the utility knife or a precision power tool like the Dremel. Just make sure to only cut off the plastic cap. It helps to loosen the throttle assembly and slide out slightly to ensure not to cut into the handle bar tube.

Once the plastic end cap has been completely removed from the twist throttle, make sure to remove any of the plastic shavings inside to prevent throttle seizing. A shop vac will come in handy for this job.

Getting ready to install the Cycra Racing Probend Bar, it’s recommended that the bumper and enduro shield be fastened with supplied screws.

Our Probend Bars came with extra hardware to facilitate application for smaller- or larger-sized diameter handlebars. The Allen bolt goes inside the end tube to help secure the Probend Bars. As the Allen bolt is tightened, the aluminum sleeve is compressed—putting pressure against the inner tube diameter. The textured lips ensure a secure grip.

Once the Probend Bar is in place and the Allen bolt is tightened slightly, make sure it’s not too close up against the throttle as to stop it from twisting freely. Once all the brackets and bolts have been tightened, double check the throttle for free movement. 

Next is positioning and tightening the U-Clamp onto the handlebar. The U-Clamp provides an attachment point for the Probend Bar section closest to the neck of the bike.

The Probend Bar is fastened to the U-Clamp, giving it a solid mounting point. The final step is adjusting the Probend Bar and brake lever to desired position followed by the final tightening.

The process is similar on the opposite side, minus cutting the twist throttle cap. In fact, the clutch side should go a lot faster since less modification is involved. Only loosen the clutch lever to allow slight adjustment when fitting the U-Clamp.

The Cycra Racing Probend Bars are a lot sturdier than the motocross-style hand guards we had on there before. The safety is well worth the ounces in weight we have added to our trail bike.

The off-road hand guards do stick out more than our old motocross-style guards, but they also provide a higher level of protection. Gone are the days of broken levers or busted knuckles.

The Cycra Racing Probend Bar has a patented curve design that provides an added safety feature—easy escape for your “money makers” in the event of a crash.

We really like the overall look and design. The Probend Bars have a unique curve bend that has been described as an “easy exit” design. The un-obstructed path allows your hands to easily leave the controls if the situation should ever arise.

Riding with the Probend Bars does take some getting use to.  But once you get over the bend, then you’re ready to twist and go.

Overall, we are really pleased with the Cycra Racing Probend Bars. We highly recommend the upgrade to any off-road desert, woods or trail rider still sporting the motocross hand guards--or worse, nothing at all. For around $120 you too can protect your “money makers.”

All American KTM

Cycra Racing
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